A diet for the mind
We’ve all been told that dieting doesn’t work. It’s not the diet the sabotages you but the idea that a) you can keep it up and b) you will continuously thrive in this depleted and sacrificial state.
Losing weight is pretty easy: eat less and exercise more. Ta-dah! Now I will wave my fairy godmother wand and it will work.
There are as many reasons why a specific diet won’t work long-term as there are people. Each person has a different body, metabolism, nutritional requirements, and motivation. I’m just a girl running, not a doctor, so I only know what has worked for me.
When I was pregnant I found I was really in tune with my body. I ate what my body needed and felt really good. I continued to exercise throughout my pregnancy and put on a healthy amount of weight. Once my baby was born I was in a shocked and sleep-deprived state. I ate whatever I could that would make me feel better: mostly emotionally better. This only worked short-term. When you’ve been up all night with a colicky baby and you feel nauseous and you have to start your day with this same baby, the last thing you emotionally crave is a bowl of oatmeal and a leafy salad. No: you want coffee, probably really dry toast, and then later you’ll want chocolate. You want stimulus and an endorphin kick to get through both you and the baby crying.
As a runner, running long distances equals a higher calorie burn. I feel hungrier because of the energy output but my body needs food as fuel for energy. I can’t just throw back a few glasses of wine and eat a bags of Cheetos after each run. I may not gain weight, but in the long-term I won’t feel very good.
As a runner I want to run faster and having less bulk to heave along is one way to get there. There are many calculators you can use to figure out your ideal racing weight. I will never lose 10 lbs to knock off minutes from my half-marathon or marathon time. I don’t need to have a LuluLemon body but I could do without the spare-tire feeling. It makes me feel lethargic and it’s the feeling I want to lose, not necessarily the weight.
Overall, I think the basic premise on what to eat is in how it makes you feel. Food, in its basic form, is fuel. We put good fuel in our body and our body can perform better and we are more emotionally balanced. Our emotional reaction to our body image is often distorted by the underlying issue of how we *feel* about ourselves, not our physical appearance.
Give yourself a hug, no matter how you look. Take a break from bad-mouthing yourself or looking at the mirror in spite. Go on an emotional diet and let your hunger dictate what you eat, not your moods.